Joseph Black, Scottish chemist

Joseph Black, Scottish chemist

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Credit: CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Joseph Black (1728-1799), Scottish chemist, physician and physicist. Black was born in Bordeaux, France, but studied medicine at the Scottish universities of Glasgow and then later Edinburgh. He was later a professor of chemistry at both these universities. In around 1754, Black discovered the gas carbon dioxide, proving that it did not aid combustion. In 1761, he discovered the phenomenon of latent heat (heat that is present but not evident). James Watt, his pupil, put this discovery to practical use when he made improvements to early steam engines. This 1801 artwork was engraved by Mackenzie after James Tassie (1735-1799).

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